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California looks to spur e-bike adoption with new incentive program

A cyclist enters a newly installed protected bike lane on Park Boulevard in University Heights, Aug. 5, 2022.
Andrew Bowen
A cyclist enters a newly installed protected bike lane on Park Boulevard in University Heights, Aug. 5, 2022.

California has set aside $10 million to help people afford e-bikes and turned to the non-profit Pedal Ahead to administer the effort. The San Diego-based organization is in the midst of a two-year pilot program that subsidizes the cost of an e-bike for program participants.

The goal is to measure the impact of e-bikes on people's transportation habits in hopes that they'll reduce car travel and greenhouse gas emissions.

Pedal Ahead's founder and president, Ed Clancy joined Midday Edition on Monday to talk about what they've learned through their pilot program in San Diego county thus far.


"Over 271,000 miles have been ridden in over two years. The carbon emissions reductions of e-bikes over cars have been 18.3 metric tons, or the equivalent of about 6,000 trees planted," Clancy said.

Though the details for the new statewide program are still being worked out, as is the amount of subsidy that will be provided, equity has been identified as a major focus. Clancy elaborated on how equity is influencing what communities the program will be prioritizing.

"Essentially, it's looking at communities that rely on public transportation. They have a lot of challenges getting to and from places in short periods of time, or you may have older cars in those neighborhoods that are polluting a lot," he said. "It's working from the inside-out to say, here's a safe, efficient, low cost, high impact means of transportation that can be introduced to these spaces."

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Corrected: September 6, 2022 at 9:41 AM PDT
Editor's note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted Ed Clancy about the number of trees representing carbon emission reductions from e-bikes. The number is 6,000 not 60.